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09-25-07, 06:40 AM
"The War" By Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns
Article Last Updated: 09/21/2007 11:26:09 PM MDT
Excerpted from The War by Geoffrey C. Ward Ken Burns

Chapter One
December 1941-December 1942 A Necessary War

I don't think there is such a thing as a good war. There are sometimes necessary wars. And I think one might say, "just" wars. I never questioned the necessity of that war. And I still do not question it. It was something that had to be done. -Samuel Hynes

Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, began as most days do in Honolulu: warm and sunny with blue skies punctuated here and there by high wisps of cloud. At a few minutes after eight o'clock, the Hyotara Inouye family was at home on Coyne Street, getting ready for church. The sugary whine of Hawaiian music drifted through the house. The oldest of the four Inouye children, seventeen-year-old Daniel, a senior at William McKinley High and a Red Cross volunteer, was listening to station KGMB as he dressed. There were other sounds, too, muffled far-off sounds to which no one paid much attention at first because they had grown so familiar over the past few months. The drone of airplanes and the rumble of distant explosions had been commonplace since spring of the previous year, when the U.S. Pacific Fleet had shifted from the California coast to Pearl Harbor, some seven miles northwest of the Inouye home. Air-raid drills were frequent occurrences; so was practice firing of the big coastal defense batteries near Waikiki Beach.

But this was different. Daniel was just buttoning his shirt, he remembered, when the voice of disk jockey Webley Edwards broke into the music. "All army, navy, and marine personnel to report to duty," it said. At almost the same moment, Daniel's father shouted for him to come outside. Something strange was going on. Daniel hurried out into the sunshine and stood with his father by the side of the house, peering toward Pearl Harbor. They were too far away to see the fleet itself, and hills further obscured their view, but the sky above the harbor was filled with puffs of smoke. During drills the blank antiaircraft bursts had always been white. These were jet-black. Then, as the Inouyes watched in disbelief, the crrrump of distant explosions grew louder and more frequent and so much oily black smoke began billowing up into the sky that the mountains all but vanished and the horizon itself seemed about to disappear.

At that point, Daniel remembered, "all of a sudden, three aircraft flew right overhead. They were pearl gray with red dots on the wing-Japanese. I knew what was happening. And I thought my world had just come to an end."

He had no time for further reflection. The telephone rang. He was needed at the nearest aid station right away. A stray American antiaircraft shell had fallen into a crowded neighborhood. There were civilian casualties. "One haunts me every so often," Inouye remembered many years later. "It was a woman clutching a child. Her head was severed, but here she was with her arms around her baby. And so this is what I had to pick up. At seventeen."

Young Daniel Inouye's first experience of the war was like that of most Americans who lived through it. They would retain vivid memories of the things they actually saw. But each would also be affected by events they could not see, happening just over the horizon or thousands of miles away. The statesmen and strategists who moved so many of them from one place, one peril, to the next, were largely invisible, too. And most people were too busy trying simply to survive to be able to understand the parts that the battles they waged or watched or worried about were playing in the greater struggle. This is their story of the war, as some of them remember it.

Nothing like the attack on Pearl Harbor had ever happened to Americans before. In less than two hours, Japanese warplanes launched from carriers far out at sea had taken so terrible a toll on the Pacific Fleet that the War Department would keep the exact details to itself for years. Eight of the nine American battleships in the Pacific, including the USS Arizona, were sunk or severely damaged. So were three light cruisers, three destroyers, and four other naval vessels. (All three American carriers happened to be away at the time of the attack, or they, too, might have been lost.) One hundred and sixty-four American aircraft-three quarters of those based around Pearl Harbor-were also destroyed, all but a few without ever having gotten off the ground. Two thousand four hundred and three Americans, servicemen and civilians, lost their lives. Some eleven hundred more were wounded.

It was around two-thirty in the afternoon when the first news of it reached ordinary citizens in the eastern United States. Katharine Phillips of Mobile, Alabama, was then a sophomore at Auburn University, in the east-central part of the state. She had just returned to her dormitory from church when she heard a scream from down the hall, then the sounds of weeping. "What's the matter?" she asked. "What's wrong?" Her housemates told her what they'd heard. Tears filled her eyes, too, she remembered, "but we comforted each other. The girls all cried and wept because they had boyfriends or relatives who were already in the armed forces. And we realized immediately that this would be war."

At about that same time back home in Mobile, Katharine's seventeen-year-old brother, Sidney Phillips, Jr., was perched on a soda fountain stool at Albright and Woods drugstore at the corner of Dauphin and Anne streets, drinking a nickel vanilla milkshake. It had an extra scoop of ice cream in it, courtesy of the soda jerk, Phillips's friend and former classmate William O. Brown. He and Brown-whom everybody called W.O.-had graduated from Murphy High School that June.

Suddenly, a distraught woman flew through the door. "Turn on the radio!" she shouted. Someone did. "It kept giving the same information again and again," Phillips remembered, "and we just all sat there quietly, listening." As the news crackled in, Brown kept wiping the same section of the marble countertop over and over again. Phillips just stared at the tiled floor; more than half a century later he could remember its distinctive black-and-white checkerboard pattern. "Everyone was very startled," he recalled, "excited, frightened, very serious. We knew this meant we were in the war. Some ladies started crying." After a time the radio announcer began repeating himself and the stunned customers at last began to talk among themselves. Phillips was the only one in the drugstore who had any idea where Pearl Harbor was; his uncle was a navy pilot and had once been stationed there.

W. O. Brown stopped wiping the counter and said, "Sid, let's go join the navy in the morning."

Phillips said, "Fine." He climbed onto his bike and pedaled home to tell his parents of his new plans. His mother was horrified: Sidney was too young for the draft, plus two of her brothers were already in the navy-that should be enough sacrifice for any family. His father, a schoolteacher, felt differently. He had been wounded on the western front during the Great War and had seen how poorly replacements had been prepared for combat during the war's last weeks. Since his son was sure to be drafted anyway, it was best for the boy to go in early: he stood a better chance of surviving if he was well trained. Both his parents finally gave their permission for him to go, though his mother never really reconciled herself. "The story in the family," Sid's sister, Katharine, recalled, "is that the recruiting officer crossed the street any time in the next year that he encountered my mother, because she would give him a piece of her mind for taking her little boy."

When Sid and W.O. met outside the federal building in Bienville Square at eight o'clock the next morning, the line of volunteers in front of the navy recruiting office already stretched almost a block. The two boys sidled up to the head of the line to see how long the wait might be. A sergeant from the marine recruiting office next door took them aside.

"Do you want to kill Japs?" he asked.

They did. That's why they'd come down to join the navy.

Forget about the navy, the sergeant said. All sailors do is swab decks. Marines were guaranteed to meet the enemy "eyeball to eyeball." Besides, he said, "you can't get into the navy-your parents are married."

Sid Phillips and W. O. Brown laughed and signed on with the United States Marines. By then, the radio was reporting still more terrible news. On the same day that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor-December 8 west of the international date line-they had mounted simultaneous assaults on a host of other American and British targets in the Pacific region. Japanese troops had gone ashore in British Malaya. Japanese bombs fell on British strongholds in Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as on two U.S. outposts in the Pacific most Americans had never heard of before: Guam and Wake Island.

The Philippines were under attack, too. The United States had never acknowledged possessing a Pacific empire, at least not formally, as the British and European powers did. And plans were already under way to grant the people of the Commonwealth of the Philippines their independence in four years. But the life many American civilians led in the islands the United States had occupied since helping to overthrow its Spanish rulers in 1898 mirrored the ease, comfort, and unexamined racial assumptions of colonial rule elsewhere in Asia.

Eight-year-old Sascha Weinzheimer lived with her family on the vast Calamba Sugar Estate, a little over an hour's drive south of Manila on the island of Luzon. The estate was owned by her grandfather, Ludwig Weinzheimer, a German American planter who now lived on a vast farm in the Sacramento Valley and left the management of his Philippine holdings to her father, Walter, and his brother, Conrad. She and her siblings-Doris, three, and Conrad, Jr., called Buddy, just six weeks old-along with two small cousins were the only American children on the estate. But it was in every other way "the most wonderful home a girl could have," Sascha noted in a journal she began keeping about that time-a handsome bungalow surrounded by gardens filled with hibiscus and jasmine and ginger flowers. A Filipina amah named Esperanza kept her company. Jesus, the family cook, prepared the dishes she liked best. In the mornings, her mother taught her her lessons. In the afternoons, she galloped through the cane fields alongside the champion polo player who had taught her how to ride. At sundown, she was sometimes allowed to join her parents and their grown-up friends poolside at the Canlubang Golf and Recreation Club. Its membership was limited to American managers and their guests, whose glasses were kept topped up with beer or whiskey and soda by a phalanx of white-clad Filipino "boys."

The only intrusion on this idyll so far had been polio, which had affected Sascha's legs in infancy and required her to visit a physical therapist in Manila three times a week. There had been rumors of growing trouble with Japan for months now. Sascha's father had even written Ludwig to ask whether the family shouldn't come home to Sacramento but had been told to stay where he was; there would be no war.

Sascha's mother had learned of the attack on Pearl Harbor by breakfast time on December 8, but the physical therapy sessions seemed so important that she decided to send her daughter into town for her noon appointment anyway. That is where Sascha was at around half past twelve-lying on the therapist's table and undergoing the painful stretching of her leg muscles that was meant to help restore their strength-when the telephone rang. The therapist, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, picked it up and paled: Japanese planes had hit Clark and Iba airfields and were bombing outlying neighborhoods of Manila as well. She said that Sascha must start for home right away; there was no time even to put her shoes back on. "There were many people on the streets walking, carrying bags and bundles," Sascha wrote. "All the people seemed so scared. They were trying hard to get to the provinces, where they would be safer."

As Benjamin, the family chauffeur, nosed the car through the frightened civilians who filled the road, he and Sascha's amah talked furiously in Tagalog. Sascha only dimly understood what they were saying, but when they finally reached home, she wrote, "Mummy was waiting in the driveway. She grabbed me, hugged me tight and said they were fools to have let me go to Manila that day." Sascha still didn't really comprehend what was happening; she was just glad to get home early, she remembered, "because that meant I could beg an extra swim before lunch."

That same morning, at about the time the automobile carrying Sascha Weinzheimer pulled up in front of her family's bungalow, Corporal Glenn Dowling Frazier of the 75th Ordnance and Supply Company was some forty miles away, standing on a forested hillside in Little Baguio, across Manila Bay on the Bataan peninsula, watching Japanese warplanes wheel and dive above Luzon and cursing his bad luck. After all, he had chosen to come to the Philippines precisely because he had thought war would never follow him there.

One evening earlier that year, back home in the little farming town of Fort Deposit, Alabama, he found out that a girl he had known since the first grade and thought he loved was being courted by somebody else. The following day Frazier was still so angry and upset that when the owner of a juke joint in nearby Montgomery refused him service, he stalked outside, climbed onto his motorcycle, and roared back through the door, shattering bottles, smashing furniture, and leaving black skid marks on the dance floor. As Frazier raced away the bar owner chased him with a shotgun. The next morning, humiliated, scared, and unable to face his parents, he hurried to the nearest recruiting office. He was only seventeen, so he lied about his age, joined the peacetime army, and volunteered to serve in the Philippines. "I had no idea that we would actually be in a war," he remembered. But if there was to be one, "Germany was the most likely place," he'd thought then. "So, in my mind, I thought it'd be safe over there. I never thought Japan would be attacking us."

At first, he liked the choice he'd made. He was stationed in Manila, then known as the Pearl of the Orient for the beauty of its old buildings, parks, and broad avenues-and for the fleshly entertainment it offered to male visitors from everywhere. The city was a revelation to a country boy like Frazier. His unit was quartered at Fort Santiago, inside the thick-walled sixteenth-century Intramuros district. "It was like a luxury hotel," he remembered



09-25-07, 07:24 AM
A seven part series, "The War"

Video Clips, of the series "The War"

THE WAR, a seven-part series directed and produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, tells the story of the Second World War through the personal accounts of a handful of men and women from four quintessentially American towns. The series explores the most intimate human dimensions of the greatest cataclysm in history — a worldwide catastrophe that touched the lives of every family on every street in every town in America — and demonstrates that in extraordinary times, there are no ordinary lives.

Throughout the series, the indelible experience of combat is brought vividly to life as veterans describe what it was like to fight
and kill and see men die at places like Monte Cassino and Anzio and Omaha Beach; the Hürtgen Forest and the Vosges Mountains and the Ardennes; and on the other side of the world at Guadalcanal and Tarawa and Saipan; Peleliu and the Philippine Sea and Okinawa. In all of the battle scenes, dramatic historical footage and photographs are combined with extraordinarily realistic sound effects to give the film a terrifying, visceral immediacy.



09-26-07, 05:55 AM
WWII meant opportunity for many women, oppression for others <br />
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Carolyne Zinko, Chronicle Staff Writer <br />
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Wednesday, September 26, 2007 <br />
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A man's role in World War II was clear - if he was...

09-26-07, 08:01 AM
Nick Coleman: Marines' service, stories still inspire 60-plus years later

By Nick Coleman, Star Tribune

Last update: September 25, 2007 – 8:27 PM
If you're watching Ken Burns' "The War" on PBS (the fourth episode airs tonight) you've likely been impressed by Sam Hynes, of Minneapolis, who became a Marine fighter pilot.

Hynes had a lot of company in the skies over the Pacific, including dozens of pilots from the Twin Cities Naval Reserve Base at the old Wold-Chamberlain Field (now Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport). Young men who yearned for adventure and wanted to fly and whose peacetime training proved invaluable when the country found itself at war.

A couple dozen survivors of that gallant band, who have great affection for their reliable gull-winged F4U Corsair fighter-bombers, still meet at the Fort Snelling Officers Club.

After decades of swapping war stories and watching their ranks thin, the remaining pilots decided in 1995 to write down their stories. Twelve years later, they have been published in a collection of pilot tales of life and death in the air during World War II and the Korean War (many WWII pilots were mustered back to duty for Korea).

Called "Marine Wings," the story of the Minnesota Marine Air Reserve is a fascinating complement to the Burns series, providing personal stories of some of the unassuming heroes who flew from Minnesota into the pages of history.

I met some of them the other day, men such as Goodwin Luck, of St. Paul, 91, whose daring rescue of a marooned Navy officer from under the noses and the artillery of the Japanese was recounted in an episode of "This Is Your Life" (the guest host during Luck's 1957 appearance was future President Ronald Reagan).

Surviving artillery bombardments, anti-aircraft fire, enemy snipers, malaria and K-rations, Luck was skinny as a stick when he landed his amphibious J2F Duck off Arundel Island in 1943 to rescue Lt. Hugh Miller. The grateful Navy officer wrote to Luck's wife to praise her husband for the "courage and daring ... which surely, is the reason why a fighting Marine is superior to any other fighting man alive."

The other pilots from Minnesota exemplified the same qualities, limping home from missions in shot-up airplanes, crash-landing on jungle runways -- growing up in a hurry as they lost friends to the war.

John Wastvedt, an 84 year-old from Hawley, Minn., who still flies (he owns three airplanes), watched his fellow carrier pilot George Strimbeck bail out after being shot down by Japanese fighters in early 1945. It took Wastvedt years to accept that his friend, who was never found, was dead.

Many of the pilots believed they flew on two wings and a prayer. Sometimes, they were down to just one wing.

Darrell Smith, wounded by flak and his plane just barely flying, crash-landed and survived to fly again. "Can an experience like that give a person religion," he asks. "You bet! I believe I had a lot of special help that night."

Another pilot, Jim Bailey, a retired Honeywell engineer who is 85, watched his best friend, Dale (Trigger) Baird, of St. James, Minn., die on a practice bombing run when his airplane's tail broke off.

"One of the finest people I ever knew, and he was gone, just like that," Bailey says, looking as if it happened yesterday instead of 63 years ago. "There is not a day that passes that I don't think of Trigger," Bailey writes in "Marine Wings."His picture in the cockpit of a Corsair is over my desk this very day."

Bailey's first-born daughter was named Dale in honor of his unforgotten wingman.

By the way, Bailey had a flat tire on the way to our meeting. When a service station repairman saw the Marine Corps sticker on his car, he fixed the flat for free.

"My dad was in the Marines," the attendant said. "Semper Fi."

Always faithful.

"Marine Wings" is the story of pilots who lived in service to that Marine motto. The book, published by DeForest Press, $29.95, is available at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul, the Fort Snelling History Center, Battlefield Books in St. Louis Park, Excelsior Bay Books in Excelsior, Riverside Books in Northfield and a number of other local bookstores.

Nick Coleman • ncoleman@startribune.com

09-26-07, 07:17 PM
September 26, 2007
Leadership: Watching "The War"
Fast Company Magazine

There was a time when I was growing up in the early Sixties when it seemed that every dad I knew had fought in “the War.” Viewed from the point of view of a child who squeezed in games of “war” between games of baseball and football, the Second World War was a touchstone, an affirmation that good guys always won. That attitude changed with the violence of the Vietnam, and the cold reality that so many young men, little older than me and eventually my own age, were going there, some never to return.

And so it is that subsequent generations have forgotten the sacrifices that their fathers and grandfathers made in that War. Those sacrifices come alive again, night after night in Ken Burns new series The War, through the stories of people in four different American cities. Their remembrances remind me of the men I knew, who went into the conflict and thankfully survived.

This War, like all wars, comes down to commitment honed by sacrifice for a greater cause. But as grand as the goals may seem, wars are not fought in “war rooms,” they are waged on the ground, at sea, and in the air by soldiers called to service. From them we learn lessons, such as:

Saying good-bye. For many young men, leaving home for the first time was an adventure, perhaps a lark. For those with wives and children it was more poignant. However, in time, all would feel the pain of separation whether they were stateside or overseas, they all had one thing in common – separation from all they had known till then.

Learning on the job. Military training is a good thing; it molds behaviors that ensure coordinated actions and in combat give soldiers something to follow in order to survive. But, as Paul Fussell, infantryman and author, recalls in the series, it takes time to learn to be a soldier. The North African campaign shaped the U.S. Army’s fighting character under the harshest of conditions. Poorly led soldiers were killed or captured. But after the battle of the Kasserine Pass, new commanders rose to the fore, and the American fighting man gained his equilibrium and the experience to fight even more bloody conflicts in Italy, and later France and Germany. Marines in the Pacific were taught to fight in the jungles of Guadalcanal, a cauldron of sweat, heat and lost lives.

Sticking with your buddies. An airman from Sacramento who served as a belly gunner in a B-17 Liberator remembers coming back from the first massive raid of Schweinfurt in 1943 in which a fifth of the bombers (including 600 airmen) were lost. The airman, now an old man but then 19, did not want to get back into the bomber again. He did, of course, so as not to let his buddies down. That is a refrain that soldiers from ancient times till now repeat with regularity. War for soldiers is not flag and country; it’s for the guy next to you.

Living one day at a time. War was distant to those at home yet, as the personal stories in The War make clear, Americans on the home front made sacrifices, too. There was rationing of everything from flour and sugar to meat and of course nylon, rubber and gasoline. When demand was high shifts in war plants were sometimes twelve hours seven days a week. Everyone it seemed had a relative overseas. One man now in his sixties recalls a childhood memory seeing blue stars (indicating one had a soldier in service) being replaced by gold stars (indicated that soldier had fallen).

Coming home. The War did end and soldiers came home. Stephen Ambrose wrote and spoke often of how they came back to get on with their lives. Some 10 million went to college on the GI Bill; the rest went to work. All, it seemed, married and had children, accounting for the biggest boom in births in American history.

We know now what we didn’t acknowledge then, that while the War was over, it still lived on in the lives of the soldiers who had served. War may be a chapter in someone’s life, but it one that is never closed. The memories live on, and The War serves as sentry to them.

Source: Ken Burns and Lynn Novick The War PBS 2007

John Baldoni • Leadership Expert/Executive Coach/Author/Speaker • Baldoni Consulting, LLC • www.johnbaldoni.com


09-27-07, 03:46 AM
PEARSON: Taking a toll all over again

War's effects shattering in documentary

By Mike Pearson, Rocky Mountain News
September 22, 2007

If war is hell, The War is hell on television.

The 15-hour survey of America's involvement in World War II is raw, violent and heartbreaking. You don't just watch this show on PBS; you jump into a foxhole next to it as images explode around you like shrapnel. It's a stunning achievement.

Sixty million people died during World War II, and not a few of them are seen on the screen. The cumulative effect is shell shock; you may grow accustomed to the bombs and the deafening noise, but you never get used to death.

Directors Ken Burns and Lynn Novick want to put the war into perspective - to distinguish between a "good" war and a "necessary" war. Everyone knows why we got into the war (think Pearl Harbor), but few seem to recall that the battle was fought both abroad and on the home front.

To that end, the filmmakers chronicle soldiers from four American towns as well as the people who stayed behind. For each shot of soldiers slogging through muddy hills in Italy, there's a sister or girlfriend who talks about rationing and patriotism and sitting by the radio in hopes of news - any news - of their loved ones.

The War is broken into seven segments with titles such as "A Necessary War," "Pride of Our Nation" and "Fubar." As narrator Keith David somberly tells us in the opening segment, "Over 85 million men and women served in uniform, but the overwhelming majority of those who perished were civilians."

Burns and company dutifully hit the highlights - Pearl Harbor, D-Day, the Bataan Death March, the Battle of the Bulge, Guadalcanal, concentration camps - while weaving individual stories that evoke a power all their own. Among those is the tale of Sascha Weinzheimer, a 12- year-old Californian whose family was interned at a civilian camp in the Philippines. Reading diary excerpts from the time, she captures the terror, hope and resignation that gripped the inhabitants and how their Japanese captors repeatedly tried to use them for propaganda.

Many of the soldiers' stories have a similarity to them, told as they're hunkered down in some obscure European or Pacific hamlet they'd never heard of, battling both the enemy and the elements. When they wrote letters home, they sanitized their experiences; they tried to protect their loved ones from the true horrors of the conflict.

It's hard not to be haunted by the faces that flash across the screen: kids blasted into adulthood by combat. They're young, impossibly young.

Beyond the 405,000 American soldiers, sailors and Marines killed, The War documents how the war changed America, which went from being a sleepy isolationist country in the fall of 1941 to the strongest country on Earth by 1945. The transition is typified by four American towns: Luverne, Minn.; Waterbury, Conn.; Sacramento, Calif.; and Mobile, Ala.

There's industrial change, social change (tens of thousands of blacks flood Mobile for work in the armament factors, creating racial tension) and changes in national temperament, including the treatment of Japanese-Americans interned during the war.

And what of the controversy that erupted last spring when some Hispanics accused Burns of underplaying their involvement in the war? He's added two segments addressing Hispanic soldiers and a third focusing on an American Indian hero. All three are powerful, yet they seem a bit disembodied because they're tacked onto the end of existing episodes rather than integrated.

The War proves that even a necessary war can be brutal and inhumane. It's full of Burns' trademark touches: a camera that zooms in on still photos (color footage comes in the last few episodes), celebrities reading soldiers' letters, jazz music that runs the gamut from Benny Goodman to Norah Jones.

Says one veteran 60 years after combat: "The intensity of that experience was so overwhelming . . . that you can't quite let go of it."

After watching The War, you'll feel the same way.

The War on TV

Here's the schedule for The War on KRMA-Channel 6, including planned repeats of each episode. KBDI-Channel 12 currently has no plans to run the series:

• A Necessary War: 7 and 9:30 p.m. Sunday. Repeats: 10 a.m. Sept. 30 and 8 p.m. Oct. 3.

• When Things Get Tough: 7 and 9:30 p.m. Monday. Repeats: 12:30 p.m. Sept. 30 and 8 p.m. Oct. 10.

• A Deadly Calling: 7 and 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. Repeats: 2:30 p.m. Sept. 30 and 8 p.m. Oct. 17

• Pride of Our Nation: 7 and 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. Repeats: 4:30 p.m. Sept. 30 and 8 p.m. Oct. 24

• Fubar: 7 and 9:30 p.m. Sept. 30. Repeats: 8 p.m. Oct. 31

• The Ghost Front: 7 and 9 p.m. Oct. 1. Repeats: 8 p.m. Nov. 7

• A World Without War: 7 and 9:30 p.m. Oct. 2. Repeats: 8 p.m. Nov. 14

Bonus material

• If you miss all or part of The War, don't worry. Paramount Home Video will release the DVD set of the series on Oct. 2. Cost: $129. The DVD will include commentary by directors Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, as well as deleted scenes, biographies and additional interviews.

• World War II may not seem like an ideal candidate for a coffee table book, but that's precisely what you get in The War: An Intimate History 1941-1945 by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns (Alfred A. Knopf, $50). The 451-page book is filled with photos and interviews, both reflective of the PBS series and new. It also will be available on audio CDs.

In their words

How does The War stack up to the actual experience? The Rocky asked two World War II veterans to preview two hours of the 15-hour documentary. The episode dealt with the taking of Iwo Jima and part of the European campaign. Both Joe Weinmeier and Phil Antonelli found the show difficult to watch but worthy for its visceral depiction of combat. Weinmeier served in the Pacific theater and Antonelli in the European theater. Here are their thoughts.

Joe Weinmeier

Joe Weinmeier, 81, of Broomfield was 17 when he enlisted in the Marines in 1944. After boot camp, he was immediately shipped to the Pacific theater, where he saw action that included handling a flamethrower on Iwo Jima and serving with the U.S. occupation forces in Japan after that country's surrender. "The War" brought back vivid memories for Weinmeier, who says that despite the difficulty of watching the program, he recommends that others do so.

"It brought back a lot of memories. It got to me. The shelling and the shooting and the killing, that still bothers me when I see it. That's why when people say to me, 'You ought to see this or that movie,' if it's a war movie, I don't watch it. After 62 years, it still bothers me.

"(The War) brought back memories. It makes you remember your buddies, the guys you were with who died defending our country. It still gets to me. There are still instances that bring back memories, especially these boys coming back from Iraq with no arms and legs. It reminds me of the ones who were completely blown to bits (during World War II).

"By the time I got home from the war (in August 1946), I was grown up. I was a young, 17-year-old kid when I went in, and when you go through the training and you see the action, you grow up real fast. Your ideas of life change dramatically."

Phil Antonelli

Born and raised in Silverton, Phil Antonelli was a 19-year-old student at Regis University when he was drafted in 1943. After training in coastal artillery, he was sent to Europe, arriving in Normandy several days after D-Day. He joined Gen. George Patton's Third Army and saw action throughout France and into Germany. Although sometimes difficult to watch, he found "The War" instructional and realistic, especially its emphasis on death.

"It certainly showed more corpses (than most shows about World War II). There were a lot of corpses out there, all the way up to Germany. Personally, I was sick to see all those dead people. The disc (of The War) I saw presented the death and the trials (we went through). It changed you from smiling to not being able to speak.

"I don't think most people understand (what a tough war) it was. I'm associated with Regis University, which invites veterans to speak. For a long time war veterans didn't want to relate their experience because people couldn't realize the gravity of what you were saying. So for 20 or 25 years you wouldn't say anything. Now, more and more veterans are coming forward. . . .

"This show definitely captures a sense of how horrible the war was. It's going to be a draining experience because it's going to take your feelings and wrap them around your head."

pearsonm@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-954-2592


09-27-07, 04:19 AM
Our View
The war and its lessons
Centre Daily Times -

When Ken Burns, as artist and historian, focuses his lens on a subject — as he has with baseball, jazz, the Civil War and now World War II — America can count on seeing its soul in the reflection.

In presenting the stories of our past so compellingly, Burns — without beating us with it, and perhaps even unintentionally — holds a moral mirror to the present.

His current documentary epic (continuing Sunday night on WPSU-TV, Channel 3) is titled simply “The War.” Others have called his subject the Second World War, fought and won, in Tom Brokaw’s immortal and highly appropriate phrase, by “The Greatest Generation.”

Burns, in seven episodes spanning almost 15 hours, shows how all Americans, and residents of four towns in particular — Mobile, Ala., Sacramento, Calif., Waterbury, Conn., and Luverne, Minn. — were affected by World War II, so much so that life was totally focused on and revolved around the effort to defeat the Axis powers.

Every home, it seemed, had at least one member serving in the armed forces. Those who did not serve supported those who did, often by working in a war-related industry.

People grew vegetables in victory gardens. They willingly accepted the rationing of gasoline and other items, including meat. They even collected bacon grease in their kitchens to be used in manufacturing explosives targeted for Europe or an island in the Pacific.

The war was fought by a true coalition of allies, planned by coequal heads of state and thought necessary by almost everyone.

The entire nation — dozens of nations — mobilized for victory.

And when the troops came home — those who made it home — they were not only treated as heroes, they were given the opportunity through the visionary GI Bill to acquire what they needed to contribute even more to post-war America. Soldiers, seamen and Marines became the doctors, engineers, lawyers and teachers who fueled the greatest peacetime economic boom in the nation’s history.

The comparison to today is as unavoidable as it is disheartening. Fast-forward ...

The United States, heading a coalition of the remaining, spends $200 million a day — spilling the priceless blood of its servicemen and women and Iraqi and Afghan civilians in the process — on “The Long War.”

Leadership, especially when compared with that of Roosevelt and Churchill, is sadly lacking.

Hardly anyone on the home front, except family members of what is now the professional military class — and certainly those in the National Guard and Reserves, from whom so much is being asked — is affected. Sacrifice?

The president says, “Go shopping.” Even the most fortunate among us, those most able to do so, are not asked to help with the war effort. Their contributions — their taxes — actually have been decreased by the leaders who say we must defeat terrorists over there or we will have to fight them over here.

As for returning veterans, if they need treatment, especially for mental or emotional injuries, good luck from your good old Uncle Sam.

Today’s GI Bill is the tab we’re leaving for our children and grandchildren to pay for our current misadventures in the oil-rich Middle East.

If Burns or someone of his talent and sensitivity were to document this one, it would certainly be worth viewing but something few people will want to see.

History is likely to judge this war far, far differently.


09-28-07, 01:42 PM
Remembering veterans of Korea

Fred Musante, Editor September 28, 2007

A new PBS documentary by Ken Burns on World War II, "The War," is receiving a lot of attention, and rightfully so. Judging from the first episode, it is a remarkable achievement by a master filmmaker of historical documentaries.

Something else that should receive attention is "The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War," a new history of the Korean War by David Halberstam, which appeared in bookstores Tuesday.

The Korean War took place from 1950 to 1953 (though no peace treaty was ever signed, and hostile forces still face each other across a dangerous No Man's Land more than 50 years later, so you could say it's still going on).

American veterans of the conflict call it "the forgotten war," because it's probably the least-remembered war in American history.

Neither side ever officially declared war, as far as I know. American officials referred to it as a "police action," a phrase the veterans of Korea scorn.

Halberstam was a legendary journalist who earned his reputation reporting on the Vietnam War. Reviews of his new book, which he finished a week before he died in an automobile accident last April, say he drew from his experiences in Vietnam to produce this war history.

The tragedy of the Korean War is that it involved a series of mistakes and miscalculations, resulting in 33,000 American combat deaths, along with 415,000 South Koreans and about 1.5 million North Koreans and Chinese.

The Communists invaded South Korea after Assistant Secretary of State Dean Rusk gave a speech that mistakenly omitted South Korea from America's Pacific defense guarantees.

The invasion caught the U.S. military commander, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, flat-footed, something Ken Burns' documentary said also happened at the outset of World War II.

After masterfully turning the tide, MacArthur made his worst error, invading North Korea and pushing to the Chinese border, which resulted in China entering the war in November 1950.

What followed was two-and-a-half years of brutal carnage in some of the worst conditions in which anyone ever fought a war.

Earlier this year I worked on a writing assignment that required me to research the Korean War on a particularly intimate level. I spent weeks combing through every page of old newspapers from that era, looking for information on how the war affected the city of Shelton.

I'm not going to pretend that reading old newspaper stories gave me the same appreciation for what that war was like as the men who fought it on the front lines.

If anything, it convinced me that I could never know what it was like.
But I did get a sense of the courage and sacrifice of those soldiers and Marines.

For the last two years of the Korean War, the Main Line of Resistance, as the front line was called, stretch about 150 miles across the Korean peninsula, usually strung along the top of mountainous ridges.

Those ridges, towering 1,000 to 3,000 feet over the valleys between them, were desolate, treeless wastelands with lines of defensive trenches and forts. These fortifications were fought over, and often the two sides would trade possession of them repeatedly in a single night.

The soldiers and marines crouching in the hilltop trenches and bunkers were under constant artillery attack. Often the Communists would hit a trenchline with 1,000 shells an hour continuously for the whole day. During periods between shelling, snipers posed an ever-present danger.

The Chinese typically waited until nightfall to stage series of human wave attacks against Allied defenders. A force of 3,000 Chinese, yelling and blowing bugles, might be opposed by no more than 100 or 200 soldiers or Marines defending up to a mile of trenches.

The locations for these battles were known by the names the men gave them: Sniper Ridge, Heartbreak Ridge, Vegas, Pork Chop Hill, Bloody Baldy, Triangle Hill, Iron Horse Mountain and the Punchbowl.

When the Chinese got through American artillery barrages, minefields and air assaults, the Americans fought them with rifles, machine guns and flame-throwers. When the Chinese reached the trenches, our men fought desperately, hand to hand, or with bayonets if they ran out of bullets.

Now that you've formed this picture in your mind, imagine, if you can, these battles occurring on a night when the temperature is 20 degrees below zero, or in a blinding snowstorm, or in torrential rain and ankle-deep mud.

Reading these reports from war correspondents near the front, I was amazed that men could endure such a thing, never mind bravely triumph through it.

And as Halberstam's book apparently makes clear, they did this as the Korean War dragged on and on inconclusively, the only objective being to hold onto what no sane person would view as land of any value, and with the public back home increasingly turning its attention to other things.

They fought not for God and country or against Communism as much as for their own survival and the survival of the guys next to them.

They were ordinary men plucked from ordinary lives and sent to a place where life and death were a hairsbreadth apart. Their struggle on the line was as deeply primal, personal and courageous as it gets. That deserves to be remembered


09-29-07, 07:34 AM
On the Homefront
9/29/2007 6:09:46 AM

"On the Homefront," is researched and written by Loren and Mark Else and highlights local news as well as the significant events of World War II. For more on Wolrd War II history, see the Ken Burns-PBS special "The War," which began airing Sept. 23.

At home: Sept. 29, 1943

• Women's Army Corps will resume regular recruiting trips to Rochester. Lt. Betty Fray will be the recruiting officer next Tuesday in the Arthur Hotel sunroom. She will give applicants mental alertness tests; physical examinations will be given at Fort Snelling.

• Minnesota's license plates for 1944 will be delayed because of the shortage of steel. The 1944 plates will be ready in October 1944 and will have a navy blue background with white letters. Only one plate will be used per car.

• The War Manpower Commission needs men and women to work in the Pacific Northwest. Free transportation will be given to successful applicants.

• Comedian Jack Benny is home after a 10-week air tour of American Army corps in Italy, Africa and the Middle East. Benny's troupe and their USO camp shows are the first to follow the Allied army from Sicily into Italy's "toe."

• Mayor Paul Grassle of Winona and Ray Niles of Rochester, along with many distinguished guests attend the premiere of the film "This is the Army." The film is shown to a packed house, and all proceeds go to the Army relief funds. The movie will be shown in Rochester on Oct. 20. (This was a wartime musical directed by Hal Wallis and Jack Warner designed to boost morale in the United States. The story and music were written by Irving Berlin).

• The war department made public today the names of 608 United States soldiers killed in action. Ten were Minnesotans.

In the war: 1943

In August, John F. Kennedy's PT-109 is rammed and sunk.

U.S. Army troops win victories in New Guinea.

The Navy and Marines learn bloody lessons during the invasion of Tarawa, the first amphibious landing against a battle-ready resistance.

America continues its island-hopping conquest in a march toward Japan.

The Tehran Conference is held and war strategy is discussed by U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin.

America has transformed itself into an industrialized war factory to meet the critical needs in both battle theaters.

War headlines

Doolittle's B-25's take off from carrier Hornet and bomb Japan (April).

U.S. troops land to retake Aleutian Islands (May).
FDR forms war board - agency given broad powers (May).

First German V-1 rockets launched against England (June)
Americans 135 miles from Paris (August).

Thousands of Yank troops invade Okinawa (March).
U.S. and Soviets join forces for the first time in Germany near Torgau on the Elbe River (April).


09-29-07, 08:45 AM
Immortalized on film and screen
From the 'mill hill' to the Marines, Cletus Bailey served with distinction
By Staff Reports · heraldonline.com FTP
Updated 09/29/07 - 12:33 AM

In his Rock Hill house Wednesday night, Ken Bailey sat watching "The War" on PBS television.

About five minutes from the end of that third episode in the movie about World War II, a picture came on the screen. The camera panned upward and showed a Marine on a Pacific beach in November 1943 after a brutal battle.

Bailey sat forward in his chair.

The picture showed a rifle in the foreground. It was an M-1, but Bailey knew that a Browning rifle had been discarded after sand jammed it. Two legs stuck out at the bottom of the picture, belonging to some other guy from Alabama. The camera moved farther up, and Bailey leaned forward more and saw hand grenades on the Marine's uniform.

"Here comes the canteen!" Bailey called out to the screen.

Bailey knew that in a couple of seconds the picture would show that Marine's face drinking from an upturned canteen because he has that picture in his house. Other relatives have that picture in their houses, too. The picture was on the cover of Newsweek magazine on Feb. 14, 1944.

That picture is in Rock Hill houses because the Marine in the picture is Bailey's uncle, Cletus.

Cletus Bailey, an orphan from Rock Hill who was one of 13 kids and didn't get a chance at schooling after the fourth grade.

Immortalized for all time as the hickory-hard Marine trying to slake his thirst after he somehow killed enough Japanese to avoid death himself.

That immortality, the heroism of the late Cletus Bailey, who died three days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks at age 80, started in a barroom on a Saturday afternoon. On Rock Hill's Curtis Street, the Northside Cafe, a while earlier.

Cletus and some of his buddies from the Industrial mill hill had a few beers and decided then and there to join the Marines not too long after Pearl Harbor. He was sent to the Pacific and was part of the invasion of Tarawa, an island in the Gilbert chain.

"Cletus used to tell us that he came in the wave going over bodies of his buddies that was already dead, and they were yelling for them to get over the wall. And he comes over, and there is this Japanese right in front of his face not a foot away, so he snaps off a shot as fast as he can and falls backward over the wall again," Bailey said. "Then he had to go over the wall again."

Cletus Bailey was one of just 13 out of 49 men in his platoon to live through that battle.

"He said that three Marines were so shot up they begged him to finish them off, but he wouldn't do it," Bailey said. "When he came back through, they were already dead."

Bailey fought more in that war, killed more, for more years. He was wounded several times. Then he came home. But his country needed him to train Marines because the Korean War started, so he became a drill instructor. Cletus then came home to Rock Hill and worked in the dye room in that same Industrial Mill down the block from his house at 16 Barrow St.

He married a lady named Judy Hix that he doted on until she died.

He would often talk about the war, about killing, because that is exactly what he was supposed to do, and he did it.

"He remembered everything, about that picture, the killing, the war, all of it," said Jill Rawls, a family friend.

Cletus in later life would go to Rock Hill City Council meetings and raise a stink over whatever was going on, said Ken Bailey, his nephew.

The viewing public who saw the picture of that Marine on TV might agree Cletus Bailey deserved that privilege -- answers from politicians -- and a lot more, too.

Ken Burns' movie "The War" is running on PBS. The third episode is scheduled to be rebroadcast at 3 p.m. Sunday on WNSC-TV, said Tim Coghill, operations manager for the station. WNSC-TV is seen locally on cable Channel 9.

Andrew Dys • 329-4065 | adys@heraldonline.com


10-01-07, 03:23 PM
Thank You Jahhead88....